- Nov 25, 2017
- Reaction score
Haven't been here in a while, and I wanted to ask something about all this convo earlier:Personally, I think this is a broader challenge within CM culture. Not necessarily classic men's style, but the sort of online culture that has been built around these clothes. Online, there's a culture where people have a very dialectical, analytical approach to clothing. That works for classic men's style because clothes used to be governed by time, place, and occasion, and you reach back into the "archives" (e.g., Apparel Arts images) to come up with some discussion about how men should dress.
But as the world has gotten more casual, a lot of guys who were previously into CM are now struggling to find ways to wear more casual outfits. Sometimes these casual CM outfits work, such as Simon's various outfits with Valstarinos. I like these outfits, for example.
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Some CM aesthetics also have a niche for casualwear, such as trad guys with Barbour, Shetlands, and OCBDs
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But these spaces are very small and limited. If a CM guy wants to expand his casual wardrobe, he's often stuck.
A lot of casual CM outfits to me look like business casual, "dad," or "#menswear." I don't think you can analyze your way out of this problem. Once you leave CM, fashion is more about sociology, identity, emotional resonance, etc.
Whenever Simon wears something more "adventurous," his comment section goes up in flames. People freak out because he's cultivated a very analytical, conservative type of audience. But also, some of these more adventurous looks aren't for everyone. Classic men's style is an easy plug-and-play. Most guys will look good in a navy sport coat or a grey suit. The proportions, when done well, are flattering because they conform to the idealized Western notion of a male body. They also speak a language everyone can understand -- classic menswear is the lingua franca of menswear -- and they often have a tinge of "respectability" that many guys find appealing.
But once you leave CM, it requires a totally different approach to fashion. You might need to know some things about history and sociology -- there's a "1980s punk look," a "1990s deconstructed Japanese look," or a "1970s cocaine cowboy look." It's not just an analytical problem. And even if you know about these things, such looks may not suit your personality, build, identity, or lifestyle. Sometimes Simon wears workwear-y things that I don't think suit him as well as his tailored clothing -- he's just a very "classic guy."
If you're only running a workwear blog and you're a "workwear guy," then you have a "workwear audience." But if you have a classic menswear blog and you're trying to explore casualwear, you're then caught in a bunch of problems. You can't easily import the analytical approach you took with CM. Things are not always about these precise notions of fit. And the styles may take more work to import. Your audience is probably not going to reform their entire identity around being a "workwear guy." It's much easier to foist classic men's style on a broader range of people because of the history of those clothes (again, it's the lingua franca of menswear). But a lot of guys aren't going to wear the more "coherent" outerwear pieces with that Western shirt because it doesn't suit their identity -- a black cowhide Schott double rider or an RRL ranch jacket or a vintage Lee 101J, etc. All those things require a different view of yourself.
Exactly why does 'expanding your casual wardrobe' necessarily have to exclude CM-oriented outfits or style?
This again seems to me to be the natural product of imagining CM to be defined through a set of rigid rules, and that anything that falls outside of those parameters, no matter how slightly, must be considered 'non-CM' and therefore governed by other 'rules' like emotional resonance, political identity, etc., etc., blah blah blah.
It's nonsense. You can look Punk with a suit and tie, and you can look like an idiot in streetwear - no matter how much it resonates with you. Wearing tailored clothing with modern twists or high-fashion pieces isn't too much different from getting strange details put into your new suit or drafting a new cut with a tailor. And the people who want to police even that much difference from the Golden Age of CM are not only wrong, but also boring.